Category Archives: Flowers

The greatest orange blossom neroli of all time?……….. Berber Blonde by Sana Jardin Paris ( 2017 )

My God. Two years ago all this was just around the corner….

The Black Narcissus


When I came round I was in Hell. I was shouting and screaming. I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t feel my legs; my right arm was in intense pain, and I couldn’t move it, either, from the six hours of tight pulsating blood pressure control it had been under in the operating theatre.

The lights in the corridors were ferociously blinding and disorienting as I was led back, blurring and jolting, to my room. Faces in masks whirled above me clamouring in Japanese, and then, suddenly, incomprehensible, assailing my drugged, tampered brain, there was the nauseating and overwhelming smell of No 19 parfum assaulting my senses from all angles – foreign, unwelcome : like a block of pure unwanted evil.

Screaming to get it away from me, get that smell oh god I need water so badly my mouth is so dry what have I done I’m going…

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As I waited for the assistant to spray some of the new Chanel at the boutique in Yokohama’s Takashimaya ( for a more in depth ‘introduction’ to the themes and concepts of the perfume I would have had to wait in line for a ‘consultation’ ), I decided to reacquaint myself will the Chanel Les Exclusifs.



They smell really good. From the classics Cuir De Russie and No22, through Gardenia to Bel Respiro, Sycomore  and  Misia, my instinctive feeling was that someone is keeping quite a nice eye on quality control. Almost all of them smelled fresh, ‘timeless’, and alive.



The newest addition to the line, 1957, is also quality stuff : rigidly so, attaining an almost fascistic perfection, but for me, like 1932 and Gabrielle, from the mainstream collection, it is also wan – potently so – and uninspiring.




Citruses, some florals, white musks – in profusion; this ‘bridge between France and America’ is awash with them; an overdose of vetiver – although it is said to be cedar, and iris, form an enwrappingly, worryingly unintimidating perfume that, with its effacement of all flaws and vulnerability, almost fills me with apprehension.



Some popular perfumes – say Kenzo Flower, or Prada Infusion D’Iris, which 1957 reminds me of a bit, as well as soft vetivers like Jo Malone (and for a terrifying moment, the top notes made me heave slightly when bright, unnamable florals reminded of perhaps my most repugnant perfume of all time, Miracle by Lancôme), these perfumes exist, for me, despite their undeniable ‘niceness’, as almost passively aggressively ‘professional’, libido-less, officious and ‘amenable’ scents —–  you know, at least on the surface, that they can do ‘no wrong’ ; infallible:    the blinding white of the photocopier ……………………….the enemy: the people who hide behind facades, keep up appearances – – – –   – – and reveal absolutely nothing.





1957, quite an insistent scent, intricately balanced in its genderless, clean, very affable manner,  belongs very much to a recent trend of the major fragrance houses promoting dull, unaccusable perfumes – and feel free to argue with this if you think I am going too far with this – actual NEGATION.





In Japan, as sexual desire , according to researchers, is gradually dying ( more and more people choose to become single; lifetime virginity is the norm for a quarter of the population; sex is considered ‘troublesome’; most marriages after childbirth are celibate ; cyber alternatives are often preferable),  and assertion, quite rightly in some regards, becomes taboo, perfumes like 1957 somehow compound this feeling of wanting to be just bland and anonymous; to blend in but be accepted; liked; but not to dare to express any kind of quirks or odd facets of individuality, god forbid feral longings  ( I remember once,  in an office I worked at, a woman in her fifties, who was having an affair with a younger male colleague , wore Rochas Mystere, and Christ did she smell sultry: it was like wearing the adultery in the air, perturbing; slightly dirty, but earthy, enigmatic, magnetic, troubling, NAUGHTY – and utterly amazing and memorable ) – and she had got it just right. She didn’t reek of it: it was only when you moved in close that you were ensnared ( and presumably one of the very reasons that he had fallen for her in the first place ).






Yes, there is a place for ‘pleasant’ fragrances : I have psychologically imbibed enough of the powerfully repressive work culture of my own immediate office environment to realize this intuitively, and dutifully also hypocritically opt for this route myself (recently I have been combining an appropriately green and very ‘shower fresh’ Japanese shampoo with a touch of the original Envy by Gucci for a clean and boring sillage ); but ultimately, perhaps for unprocessed and unresolved personal issues, I find the almost AGGRESSIVE, unrelenting pleasantness of a dense and opaque citrus musk perfume like 1957, despite its excellent technical olfactory precision, but BECAUSE of its indefatigably fake, polite smile –  almost offensive –  – you might even say damaging –  –   –  to my spirit.









Filed under Flowers, for those who need to hide, Musk













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February 16, 2019 · 12:24 am






(D and I about eight years ago in Berlin)





– a rushed train  piece





The other night, at a Special Valentine’s edition of The Closet Ball in Tokyo – where we are sometime performers at the cabaret show of ‘gender subversive humour and performance’ but were there that night in the audience, the compere (the outrageous Tatianna Lee) asked if anyone was in a long term relationship.


’Seven years !’ chimed one person, to enthusiastic whoops from the crowd.



’Anyone longer than seven years?’ shouted Ms Lee.


’Twenty five!’ answered I, as the spotlight landed on my face, and the non-reaction of the audience (‘????? ‘) made me feel as if I had made some kind of faux pas. It did sound EXTRAORDINARILY long in the context of irreverent stage pieces on love and heartbreak, but anyway- this is our 26th Valentine’s Day together, even if, in truth, this is a time of year when we are usually at a low point (we are much better in spring and in summer )- neither of us being able to really take the desolation of the cold – and biorhythms are slowed down,  and some kind of INWARDNESS occurs until the flourishing of spring. Usually in February we are both in semi-auto hibernation mode, and things are not exactly nine and a half weeks : fractious and argumentative Valentine’s Days are more par for the course, which, like Christmas, feel like too much commercialized pressure to feel anything genuinely, plus, D hates goo and sentimentality, and gift-wrapped ribbons and presents and corny messages and romance ( though I did slip, undetected, a giant Ferrero Rocher into his work bag this morning and he was delighted).







Uncharacteristically, we are going to meet up tonight after work for a steak dinner ( a rarity on February 14th, I can tell you ). My kind, gentle, fiercely dignified, pathologically private, yet wildly extroverted and beautiful stage artist with a taste for the absurd, the extreme : the beautiful and the true. I am looking forward to it.









I was going to write about all the scents that Duncan has worn over the years, and the memories attached to them (‘to all the perfumes I have loved on you before’) – but my train has already reached its destination for my evening classes.




Fuck it. Just a few more minutes…… who cares.





There have been many scents over the years that D has worn voluntarily or had foisted upon him, from the overly suave Comme Des Garçons Black Pepper and Penhaligons’ Sartorial, to recent anomalies like Guerlain’s Lui ( vanilla and carnation, on Duncan?!), which he has worn quite a bit recently but has come to find too sweet – I personally love how it smells on him : it feels like a new age ( which perhaps it is….)





Flowers don’t suit, really, except lavender (Guerlain Lavande Velours smells delightfully dapper on him): neither do citruses, really, and definitely no ozonics or oceanics, which smell absurd. No gourmands. No ouds or aggressive woods. He DETESTS neroli and orange blossom, and finds incense too self serious.





No, what smells best on him ultimately are warm aromatics, a hint of spice : Shiseido’s original Feminite Du Bois parfum smells exquisite on him – really inviting yet mysterious all at once ( he is, ultimately, mysterious, this cherished person; an enigma: a bit like the country we call home, perhaps …. I think that at the end of the day I am drawn to the unknowable, with depths that remain inscrutable); some perfumes accentuate this.




Others bring out more of his tender, receptive-to-everything-around-him side; his love of walking and fresh air but also how good he looks in clothes ( I am a comparative human garbage heap in that regard). A nice fitting winter sweater, with a scent like L’Occitane’s discontinued Eau Giroflee is a beautiful combination, as is Rocco Barocco’s delightfully mellow Vetiver ( only the more nutmeggy vetivers smell right on him)














…     but I have to go ( I am already late )





To be continued, perhaps…












What do you love on your beloveds?


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February 11, 2019 · 6:12 pm

janet jackson’s immediate performance environment in Tokyo tonight ( no perfume : photographic essay )









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Wearing :


fake fur coat


original L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia

Laura Mercier Ambre Lumiere

E Coudray Vanille Et Coco

+ vintage Obsession For Men timged with a few drops of Saigon cinnamon oil






I smell NASTY








(no actually, I smell rather gorgeous ……anytime, anyplace baby …………………’s the pleasure principle)







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